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#traffikfreetravel SEA WEEK

In the second installment of our #traffikfreetravel campaign we’ll be looking at how human trafficking takes place at sea and how we can all be better equipped to spot the signs of trafficking at sea. You can catch up on our introduction to the campaign here and last week’s post which dealt with trafficking via air here

How People are Trafficked via Sea

  • Movement is one of the main elements of human trafficking. This includes the transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people, which can all take place via or at sea. As Carys will discuss in much more depth in Wednesday’s post (see below) Northern Ireland is in a unique position in terms of its borders. Given that we are all but surrounded by water, it is easy to see how travel by boat could be used as a means of transporting a trafficking victim; or indeed how our ports could be used as a stopover destination before moving a victim on to their next destination. 

Often those who are trafficked find themselves made to work in labour intensive industries, such as the global trade of fishing. Migrants at sea are particularly vulnerable as they are susceptible to being deceived and coerced (perhaps due to lack of language skills amongst other issues) and subsequently forced to work on board vessels under the threat of force or by means of debt bondage. For more of an insight into fisheries and trafficking here is a video detailing the experience of some of those who have been sold into the fishing industry in Thailand.

You can also read more information on the logistics of trafficking at or by sea in our Transport and Trafficking post here


Spotting the Signs 

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  • Someone who has been unable to leave the boat they are on for an extended period of time.
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    Someone who looks fearful of the person they are with or who is spoken for by someone else.
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    Someone who doesn’t have access to their own documentation.
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    Someone who doesn’t know where they are going (address, new workplace, etc…)
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    Someone who avoids eye contact or seems disoriented.
    If you are travelling by sea and become aware of any of these indicators of trafficking, your first point of contact would be an authority figure on board who can then make necessary arrangements for when the ship comes in to port. 


During our #traffikfreetravel AIR week, we gave away two tickets to the Grand Opera House and for #traffikfreetravel SEA week, we have a little something for the tea & coffee lovers amongst you. Our big thank you for taking part in our campaign this week comes in the form of a bag of Bailies Coffee and two bags of Suki Tea. Just share a photo of your travels (anything from exotic holidays to an everyday work commute) using the #traffikfreetravel hashtag on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (and tag us to let us know you’ve entered!). This week’s winner will be announced on Sunday 19th at 9pm.

Blog Post

On Wednesday look out for our new post where we’ll be discussing Northern Ireland as a Port Town. Carys will be examining how our country’s unique position between the EU and the UK impacts on Northern Ireland as a trafficking destination and most importantly how we can all be more aware, vigilant and equipped to spot the signs of trafficking, whether on our travels or at home.  

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